We have been traveling through these mountains with an early-spring mindset: suspicious of warming, skiing solar slopes early, maintaining vigilance for falling objects. Good, ephemeral corn turns have been harvested, but we acknowledge that the stout crust on the steeps is really only 10cm thick. When zapped by the sun, its strength deteriorates quickly and surprisingly. The snow beneath remains cold, not-yet-transitioned. A somewhat awkward time for the snowpack. We have been enjoying the clear nights and strong freezes. Less enjoyable is overnight cloud cover, leaving snow surfaces ambiguously breakable, or, worse, not frozen at all.
The colder aspects hold chalk and good, sheltered surface facety powder. The cornices linger and loom.
In profiles, the mid-Jan interface is widespread Near and Below Treeline, slowly disappearing into the alpine. We are not finding concerning stability test results on the polar aspects. Small, rounding faceted grains still exist over the crust on southerly aspects. A few Deep Tap Tests have yielded Sudden Planar results. A few have not. Some of these Sudden results have been on steep solar features Near Treeline, where the mid-Jan crust is down 140-180cm. The stout crust on the surface inspires confidence, for a little while, until it doesn't.
Snowdepths throughout the valley range from 150-250cm Below Treeline, to about 300cm on alpine solars, to over 400cm on alpine polars.